Systematic Side-Channel Analysis of Curve25519 with Machine Learning

Leo Weissbart, Łukasz Chmielewski, Stjepan Picek, Lejla Batina

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Profiling attacks, especially those based on machine learning, proved to be very successful techniques in recent years when considering the side-channel analysis of symmetric-key crypto implementations. At the same time, the results for implementations of asymmetric-key cryptosystems are very sparse. This paper considers several machine learning techniques to mount side-channel attacks on two implementations of scalar multiplication on the elliptic curve Curve25519. The first implementation follows the baseline implementation with complete formulae as used for EdDSA in WolfSSl, where we exploit power consumption as a side-channel. The second implementation features several countermeasures, and in this case, we analyze electromagnetic emanations to find side-channel leakage. Most techniques considered in this work result in potent attacks, and especially the method of choice appears to be convolutional neural networks (CNNs), which can break the first implementation with only a single measurement in the attack phase. The same convolutional neural network demonstrated excellent performance for attacking AES cipher implementations. Our results show that some common grounds can be established when using deep learning for profiling attacks on very different cryptographic algorithms and their corresponding implementations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314–328
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Hardware and Systems Security
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Side-channel analysis
  • Machine learning
  • Deep learning
  • Public-key cryptography
  • Curve25519

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